Accident Database

Report ID# 115376

  • Swim into Rock or Sieve
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

He was found pinned underwater on river right

Kayaker missing on Deschutes River identified as Alex Kollar

Alex Vincent Kollar of Bend was 28


The Bend Bulletin

Oct 6, 2021

The kayaker missing for nearly five days and presumed drowned in the Deschutes River was described by a friend as a strong and experienced athlete. Authorities continued their search Wednesday for the kayaker, who was identified by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office as Alex Vincent Kollar, 28, of Bend.

Search and rescue efforts began Friday evening near Lava Island Falls. Kollar was last seen by his party just upstream from Meadow Camp in Class IV and V whitewater conditions, according to Deschutes County Search & Rescue. Class IV is considered advanced whitewater for boaters, and Class V is expert.

Kollar, an experienced kayaker, may have become injured or encountered a hazard and possibly become trapped underwater, according to his friend, Jonny Sischo. “He’s still in there,” Sischo said. “There’s not a lot known about what happened. Obviously, something went wrong. Alex was a very strong individual and very talented, so it just doesn’t make a lot of sense right now.”

Around 7:52 p.m. Friday, 911 dispatch received a report of a missing kayaker in rapids upstream from Meadow Camp. Sheriff’s deputies and the Search and Rescue unit responded with nearly a dozen volunteers. The next day, Kollar’s belongings, including his kayak and paddle, were located.

In addition to drones, the multiday search has included shore searches, swift-water and dive-rescue teams and underwater pole cameras. By Wednesday, volunteers were still out with drones at the site of the disappearance, according to Search and Rescue coordinator Sgt. Nathan Garibay. “We’re still out there, checking for clues and monitoring the river, looking for opportunities for additional in-water searches,” Garibay said. “We’re staying in close contact with the family. It’s just a very tragic situation, and we’re trying to do our very best to help the family get some resolution.”

Kollar was an athlete ambassador for Bend-based cannabis company Oregrown and was a busy photographer and videographer. A film he shot about skiing during the 2018-19 season with his friends is available for free on YouTube. Another clip from YouTube, shot using a drone, shows Lava Island Falls from the air.

Kollar’s outdoor interests included split boarding, mountain biking, paragliding, kayaking, photography and videography, according to a profile on Oregrown’s website.

Kollar’s mother has asked media outlets to hold off on running profiles of her son, according to Sischo. “Alex is still missing,” Sischo said. “She just would like a little more closure.”


Released by: Sgt. Nathan Garibay, Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator
Release Date: October 3, 2021
Location: Deschutes River near Lava Island (Upstream from Meadow Camp)
Missing Person: 28 year old male; Bend, Oregon resident
On October 1, 2021 at approximately 7:52 p.m., 911 Dispatch received a call regarding a missing kayaker and possible water rescue in the area of Lava Island Falls. Bend Fire and Rescue, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputies, and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit responded with one deputy and eleven volunteers.
It was determined the kayaker was last seen by his party near Lava Island just upstream from Meadow Camp in Class 4/5 whitewater. Search activities included shore searches, use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones), and water rescue teams. Sheriff’s Office SAR teams searched the area until approximately 2 a.m. on October 2nd. Searchers later found the kayaker’s belongings including his kayak and paddle.
At approximately 8:30 a.m., two deputies and sixteen SAR volunteers responded back to the scene and began searching again. These searches included additional drone flights, shore searches, and water searches by swiftwater and dive rescue team members. Resources remained on scene until just before 7 p.m.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on October 3, 2021, one deputy and seventeen volunteers responded back to the scene to continue search efforts. They continued searching with drones, rescue swimmers, and shore based searchers. Underwater pole cameras were used to search holes and other underwater features. SAR teams worked until approximately 6 p.m. At this time, the kayaker’s body has still not been located and he is presumed drowned.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Bend Fire and Rescue on the first night; and is still being assisted by the Central Oregon Public Safety Chaplaincy.

The victim was Alex Kollar. He had run the section numerous times before at higher flows and was comfortable on the run. On an evening lap with two others he lost his paddle in the entry to lava two and was pushed right. There are numerous log jams along the right bank so the other two paddlers could not immediately follow. They grabbed the first safe eddy below the main ledge and ran back up. There was no sign of Alex by the time they reached the point last seen. They searched until dark before moving to takeout to call for help. SAR searched that night until 2 am, and have continued searching since, but recovery efforts are ongoing. They did find most of his gear in the final river right log jam at the end of the rapid.  Alex is presumed drowned due to foot entrapment or subsurface wood.

Orion Junkin

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